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Want new oil burner, but what about CO test?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by JamesW1984, Dec 24, 2007.

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  1. JamesW1984

    JamesW1984 New Member

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    I currently have a longwood wood/oil furnace with a Beckett oil burner. I don't know how old the Beckett is, but I'm having issues. I've had a local heating guy come out and he's helped me, but now I've gone and broken a few things (ceramic pieces on electrodes, copper fuel line) since, so now it really won't work unless I put some money into it. I know the electrodes and copper line won't be much $20-25 or so, but I really don't know how old this thing is. The bad thing is that I just spent $105 on a new pump for it, but that would always fit the new burner too if I ever have problems with it. I can do all of this stuff myself, it just takes me a lot longer than paying a heating guy $80/hr to do.

    What I'd really like to do is just buy a whole new burner so that I know what I have and I know it's new and should be good to go. I've found one online for around $350 here:
    http://www.pressureparts.com/BurnerPart-C-Burner-Complete-Pressure-Part-307032.aspx I'd just need to get the 9" air tube to match mine.

    I know that prices online are about 50% of what I'll pay from some local supply store. I paid $105 for a fuel oil pump locally (through my heating guy's contractor discount) and found the SAME one online for $54.00. Anyway, I can install this myself since I've had mine unhooked and hooked back up. The main reason I'm hesitant to buy a new burner is because I was reading I'd need to get a specialist to come out and do a CO test w/ their special machine to make sure it's within specs. Does anyone know anything about the CO test and about how much it would cost? I know it sounds stupid to not buy one because of this and it kinda is.

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Welcome to the Boiler Room, James. I had a Logwood 24 for many years with the Beckett burner. After the first season, I started taking out the gun and blocking off the hole when heating with wood. So I know what you're talking about. I thought that was a pretty nice boiler, despite being old tech. It got us through nine cold winters and the guy I sold the house to got another three out of it before it died. He bought an identical one to replace it, so it's still working for him.

    Here's what I'd do: Do all the work yourself and get it running, then hire a pro to come over and check it all out, including the combustion test. Those Beckett guns need to be adjusted correctly to work right, and I'm guessing a heating professional would be able to get it dialed in pretty quick. Maybe even your oil company would send someone out to check it out for free or at a discount. After all, you're going to be using their oil.

    That way you save some money, have the satisfaction of having done it yourself, and when the pro signs off on it, you can sleep easier knowing it's done right.
  3. Bartman

    Bartman Member

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    Hi James, I don't really know what your boiler config. is, but I have a Heatwise Pioneer 1 burner in my boiler. The guy that invented it lives around the corner from me, and has been manufactuing them for years. They have a website it's http://www.heatwise.com , Bola Kamath, the owner was an engineer for ABC Sunray, the company made burners for a number of years, then went out of business. Sunrays were superior to Becketts in build quality, but couldn't compete with the Beckett marketing. When I took my Beckett AFG out of my original New Yorker steel boiler, I had a lot of problems with it. When the Pioneer went in, wow! If the Beckett would run for 10 min, to make hot water, the Pioneer took 5 min. The flame is hotter, I never had to clean the boiler. The old boiler had to be cleaned every year with the Beckett. After the Pioneer was installed, it was in for 5 yrs, without service or cleaning, it's now in my replacement boiler which is a triple pass Italian made and designed unit imported from the same company Bola worked at. The burner can be a little finicky to get running right at first, but once set up, it's great, I'll never part with mine. Before I had mine, a past friend of mine installed one in his New Yorker FR boiler and saved 300 gal of fuel the first year. Something to check into anyway. The burner can be purchased online at http://www.patriot-supply.com
  4. JamesW1984

    JamesW1984 New Member

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    Loc:
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    Thanks for the replies. My unit actually isn't a boiler...it's a Longwood XIII wood/oil furnace that utilizes an oil burner. This furnace is probably close to 30 years old, but there's really nothing to break on it besides stuff I can replace such as the blower and the oil burner, etc. I don't plan to get a new furnace now.

    Here's the deal...not many people use oil burners around here, so I need something that is a semi well-known brand, which I understand is what Beckett brings to the table. I plan to learn a lot of this stuff myself so that I can do the work myself, but in the future that may or may not be possible. I just bought the house, but the previous people only used approx 150 gal a year of heating oil. I will burn wood mostly, but would like the oil burner to start the fire and restart it if it goes out so that I have adequate heating. Basically, I'm getting tired of manually starting the fire and smelling like diesel fuel and messing with it for 30-45 min a night to get it going (which has been the case for the past month).

    Eric: I'm curious...if you don't mind, tell me why you removed your burner from the furnace after one year?
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Sorry, I got yours confused with the Logwood boiler made by Marathon in upstate NY, which had a port for the oil burner built into the side of the firebox. Since it was exposed to the wood and creosote and ash, etc., the nozzle would clog up fairly quickly, and they can't really be cleaned when subjected to that kind of abuse. We just ran the wood all winter long. If we left town for a few days, I would put the burner back in and fire it up. And I would use it in the spring and fall when I didn't want to fool with the wood.

    Another reason for removing it and blocking the hole was that it would puff back occasionally when the draft damper closed and air leaked in around the burner. The secondary combustion when the wood gas mixed with the air would cause a series of little explosions that would blow smoke out the draft damper and into the basement. When I eliminated the tramp air supply, that stopped happening.
  6. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    The amount of tinkering you've already done requires a combustion analysis to re-adjust the burner. Might as well just fix it and pay someone to come in and adjust it.

    Should just be one hour labor to do that.

    Joe
  7. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    I thought I saw a Pioneer on your boiler when you posted the picture here.

    Joe
  8. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    James, you do indeed have to have someone complete a combustion test in order to properly set up your burner and get it running cleanly and at it's most efficient level. This involves checking the CO2, O2 and CO content of the flue gas as well as setting the correct fuel pressure, draft and the (A) and (B) dimensions on the burner gun itself. He'll also do a smoke spot test to check for combustion residue in the exhaust stream. All of these are critical to performance of the burner as the Beckett's can be a tad fussy to dial in. This will take a couple hours time if done correctly and adjustments are all that is needed. The tech doing the set up should have a digital combustion analyzer if he's worth his pay and will be able to give you a print out of the burner spec's when he's finished. FYI, we charge $150 for this service and it's always worth it. Putting up with a poorly running burner wastes a lot of fuel and causes many unnecessary breakdowns. We usually find that running a higher fuel pressure and a correspondingly smaller nozzle gives better fuel atomization which in turn gives better start ups and a cleaner burn.

    PS: My favorite burner for almost any application is a Riello. Once they are set up you can pretty much forget about having to re-adjust them and I've found them to be almost bullet proof as far a parts failure. Light years ahead of your Beckett but your first concern is what's available locally that the burner techs understand.
  9. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Tech taking a nap in there, or something?

    Check head dimension (and integrity - cracked heads are annoying) and electrode position with T or Z gauge, attach pump pressure gauge, then fire it up. Observe the pump pressure now that it's running. If that's fine, smoke it and sniff it. Tweak air shutter and band as needed. Remove pump pressure gauge, record all numbers, and clean up.

    Full setup on a Beckett or Carlin shouldn't take more than 30-45 minutes, done right. Some tech taking two hours just to do a setup is really dragging his feet.

    Joe
  10. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    No nap, just doing it like it should be done. When we are hired to set up a burner the whole furnace gets a stem to stern check up. Liability laws being what they are, you can't afford to overlook anything these days. If you or I touch one part of the furnace we are responsible for the whole thing. This is especially true when dealing with a burner that may not be OEM for a given furnace or boiler. A little experimenting with nozzle type, brand and spray angle can yield surprising results but it takes time. Not putting anyone else's methods down, that's just the way we choose to do it. I'd rather do 3 set up jobs in a day and know they are the best they can be than crank out 6 and leave 2 or 3% efficiency "on the table".
  11. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Not here...

    If I set up a burner, that's the only thing I'm responsible for having done. Of course, it doesn't take long to look over a system, anyway. That's what the extra 15-30 minutes are good for.

    I'd say that most experienced servicemen can tell pretty well what will work and what won't, without trying a dozen nozzles. Spray angle should be matched to the combustion chamber geometry. Whatever will fill the chamber best without impinging on cold walls is the right angle. Solid and semi-solid patters give the best flame stability, unless the system ends up rumbling as a result, in which case switch to a hollow pattern.

    If someone really wants to pay me to sit there and tinker, I'll do it, but if someone just wants the system set up to run safely, I'm not going to insist that he pay me for an extra hour of tinkering.

    Heck, if he wants better efficiency, energy management controls tend to be a much better bang-for-the-buck than an extra 1% on the flame.

    Joe
  12. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Joe

    Color me perfectionist..........whatever color that is.

    What brand analyzer are you using and how do you like it? I'm in need of another one so I'm shopping? I'd like to get one that will do solid and bio based fuels like the Testo 330.
  13. Bartman

    Bartman Member

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    Since you guys are on the analyzer subject, I recently bought a Fieldpiece combustion analyzer, haven't used it yet. Any feedback on it, good bad, or indifferent?
  14. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    I use a Bacharach Fyrite Pro. In particular, the Model 125.

    I had a Testo analyzer about five years ago, and the pump impeller kept falling off the shaft. Kept sending it back, and it would do it again within a week. I can't exactly claim that to be a statistical set, but I was not overly impressed with their inability to actually fix the unit.

    So, I've become pretty set on Bacharach products, since I've never had any problems with theirs. The PCA2 can do wood and such, although I do remember that it was on the pricey side, last time I checked. If it hadn't been so expensive, I would have gotten it instead of the new 125 that I purchased instead.

    Joe
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